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Rome in August: things to do to get the most out of it

August is one of the busiest months in the Italian capital, as many tourists arrive and citizens also participate in different activities. If you plan to go to Rome in August, be sure to read about all the things you can do during that month, so you can make the most of it.

Luisa María Lugo

Luisa María Lugo

9 min read

Rome in August: things to do to get the most out of it

Piazza Fontana di Trevi in Rome | ©Michele Bitetto

When traveling to Rome in August keep in mind that it is a very hot month, but don't worry; there are activities you can do to escape the heat.

The best thing about the events taking place this month in this city is that everyone is welcome, including tourists. Although this wonderful city offers many things to see and do all year round, be sure to read this guide to get the most out of your August vacation in Rome.

1. Take advantage of the Ferragosto celebrated all over the country

Enjoying Ferragosto| ©John Prato
Enjoying Ferragosto| ©John Prato

For years, Ferragosto has caught tourists off guard, as it is a time when Italians take advantage of their vacations. Celebrated from August 15, in those days big lunches and parties are planned in various parts of Rome and all over Italy. Normally, citizens prefer to go to the Italian coasts, but there are also celebrations in the capital.

Don't worry if you go for a walk and some businesses are closed or there are not many Romans on the streets. During Ferragosto you may find markets in some squares or large groups of people taking advantage of their summer vacations.

One of the biggest advantages for tourists during Ferragosto is that many famous sites are less crowded. Therefore, they can go and avoid the long lines that would be there on other days in August.

Book a walking tour of Rome

The Gran Ballo is one of the best activities of Ferragosto

Tourists who do not visit the Roman squares or do not pay attention to what happens in the streets of the city miss the Gran Ballo di Ferragosto. Its name makes it clear that it is a festival within a festival, a way in which the Romans celebrate Ferragosto.

The Gran Ballo is made up of different events that take place in different parts of the city, including the best squares of Rome. Places such as the Piazza del Popolo welcome groups that dedicate themselves to give dance performances of the following genres:

  • Ballroom dancing.
  • Tango.
  • Hip hop.
  • Many more.

This great party is present in every square and street of Rome, sometimes it starts in the morning and continues until the evening. The Gran Ballo is proof that Italians make the most of Ferragosto. Best of all, the dances are free events open to everyone.

2. Enter the Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Diego Albero Román
Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Diego Albero Román

The Castel Sant'Angelo is one of the most famous monuments of Rome and it is possible to visit it all year round. The reason I recommend you to go in August is that during this month night visits are available. In addition to having the opportunity to see its exterior illuminated by lights, it is possible to enter from 19:30 to 23:00. The ticket price is about 12 €.

There are many Roman monuments that allow you to visit their facilities when the sun has already set and the moon is the protagonist in the sky. I recommend that you get information on how to buy your tickets for the Castel de Sant'Angelo. so you do not miss any detail of this fantastic mausoleum.

Inside the castle it is common to see the defensive structures and prisons where people who marked the history were imprisoned. In addition, there are decorated rooms, libraries and more. Visiting this historic building at night is a great option. It is also possible to take a night tour in June, July and September.

Book tickets for Castel Sant'Angelo

3. See every detail of the Vatican Museums

Visiting Vatican Museums| ©Ana Rey
Visiting Vatican Museums| ©Ana Rey

As with the Castel Sant'Angelo, it is also a good plan to buy advice on how to buy tickets for the Vatican Museums as they open their doors in the evenings, these kinds of visits are available every day in August. The evening schedule starts at 19:00 and ends at 23:00 (the rooms are vacated from 22:30) and is valid from mid-April to October.

If what you most want to do in Rome is to go to these Museums, you should know that during the day there are many people, so it is not possible to detail every decoration inside. However, in the night tours there are not many people, the amount does not reach 100.

With far fewer visitors in the corridors you have the opportunity to stop and look at the paintings on ceilings and walls, and the decorations. In addition, the Sistine Chapel is included in the night tour.

Buy a guided tour of the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel

4. Enjoy the music at the Villa Ada Roma festival

At the Villa Ada Roma Festival| ©VillaAda
At the Villa Ada Roma Festival| ©VillaAda

The origin of this music festival dates back more than two and a half decades, it runs until mid-August. The first two weeks of the month you have the opportunity to attend and listen to musical genres of all kinds, from composition to Italian indie.

Each edition of the festival has a different title that gives you a taste of what you can enjoy. This is a big cultural event that usually features more than 60 concerts, cultural debates and meetings. The programming changes every day, so there are options to suit all preferences.

Tickets to the concerts do not have the same price every day, they vary according to the artist performing and range from 10€. The Villa Ada Roma festival is held in Via di Ponte Salario, which is located about 5 kilometers from the center of Rome.

5. Watch an Italian or international movie on the Tiber Island

Preparing the Film Festival| ©Larry Koester
Preparing the Film Festival| ©Larry Koester

Summer is the perfect time to do things outdoors, especially if it's a cool place, like near a river. Tiberina Island is in the Tiber River less than 5 kilometers from Rome, every summer a film festival is held there. It features short and feature films from Italy and other countries.

Dozens of screenings are seen at this event, even an Italian short film competition is planned. If you want to enjoy quality cinema with interesting themes, this is something original that you have the opportunity to do in Rome in August.

6. Attend opera performances in a unique setting

Opera in Caracalla| ©Leigh Williams
Opera in Caracalla| ©Leigh Williams

Imagine this: an unparalleled stage and performances by opera and ballet experts. Should you be visiting Rome in August you need not settle for imagining it, as performances of the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma take place at the Baths of Caracalla in early August.

During the show it is normal that you will meet other foreign tourists who opt for this activity. In these performances the quality that characterizes the famous Roman theater is guaranteed. The ruins of the baths complement the performances and make your experience unique.

Every day a different artist performs, the performances are announced on the website of the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma. Ticket prices start at 25 € and some exceed 135 €.

7. Snow in Rome in the middle of summer

Facade of the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore| ©Pierre Selim Huard
Facade of the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore| ©Pierre Selim Huard

One of the basilicas in Rome is that of Santa Maria Maggiore or Santa Maria Maggiore, also known as Santa Maria della Neve. Every August 5 it celebrates a miracle that the Virgin is said to have performed after appearing in the dream of Pope Liberius. Legend has it that on August 4 and 5, 358 A.D. the Virgin asked the Pope to erect a church for her and on the morning of August 5 it snowed on the site where the Basilica was later erected.

Because of this, the believers remember the miracle of the snow in August in the square in front of the Basilica. During the celebration, a light and sound show is organized, and the attendees see an artificial snowfall, so it is not necessary to visit Rome in winter to see snow.

8. On the day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Inside the church of Santa Maria dell'Anima| ©Rome Sightseeing
Inside the church of Santa Maria dell'Anima| ©Rome Sightseeing

According to Catholic tradition, on August 15 Mary ascended to heaven and so this day is celebrated by believers. Because many people in Rome are Catholic and that is where the Vatican is located, celebrations are held all over the city.

One of the best known activities in Rome for the Assumption is the mass that takes place in the same basilica where the miracle of the snow is commemorated. A cardinal sent by the Pope himself comes to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to make a floral offering and pray.

Since Ferragosto coincides with this religious celebration, it is normal that many Romans take advantage of the holiday to start their vacation. In case you are religious, you have the opportunity to attend one of the celebrations that take place in the churches of Rome.

9. Beat the heat with a good gelato

Long Live Ice Cream| ©Rahul Pandit
Long Live Ice Cream| ©Rahul Pandit

Rome is the perfect place to enjoy the best ice cream and what's better than doing it in the middle of summer? In the Italian capital there are many ice cream parlors, I recommend you to enjoy your dessert in a park, in this city there are several things to do.

In the summer, Roman gelato shops have flavors prepared with typical fruits of this time of the year, such as melon, strawberry and cherry. After you finish your daily tour (or at another time of the day) you have the opportunity to delight your palate with an Italian gelato.

10. Cultural events throughout the city

Roma Summer Fest| ©Rockon.it
Roma Summer Fest| ©Rockon.it

Estate Romana is a festival that takes place throughout the summer, it was created in order to attract tourists to the city. Because the months of June, July and August are very hot, people prefer to go to the Italian coasts. However, this festival is a great reason to stay in the capital.

Estate Romana includes a wide variety of activities, from theater to readings and museum visits. All the events that take place are free and the programming is extensive, so there are options for children, youth and adults.

If you are in Rome in August, go to the Estate Romana website and see the cultural program. Activities are also held during June and July.

Summer temperatures in Rome

Enjoying the Summer| ©David Ramírez
Enjoying the Summer| ©David Ramírez

July in Rome and August in Rome are the hottest months, with the average daily temperature reaching 30°C (86°F). In case the humidity level is high, the thermal sensation becomes much higher, to the point of making you feel overwhelmed.

Besides Ferragosto, one of the reasons why some businesses close is the heat. Their owners want to stay cool, so they keep their stores closed until the temperatures start to drop.

Are there many tourists in Rome in August?

Strolling through Rome| ©Jordan Rowland
Strolling through Rome| ©Jordan Rowland

In July and August are the dates when there are more tourists in Rome, so it is normal to see streets full of people and places with long lines. Italians also decide to travel in these dates, they go to the coasts to enjoy the summer.

Just because there are a lot of tourists doesn't mean that there are no things to do, all the activities we mentioned before are available. So are museums and other places you can go to any month of the year.

Are prices in Rome too high in August?

Calculating Payment| ©Karolina Grabowska
Calculating Payment| ©Karolina Grabowska

Because Rome is a widely visited city in August, don't be surprised to find a hotel with a higher price than in other seasons, such as spring and autumn. Likewise, some restaurants and stores also decide to increase their prices during this month.

If you go at the end of the month, there is a chance that prices will have dropped, but only slightly.

What to pack for a summer visit to Rome

Pack your luggage| ©Oliur
Pack your luggage| ©Oliur

To answer this it is necessary to take into account the season, as it is summer, what I recommend you to take to your trip is:

  • Light clothing.
  • Clothes that protect your head, such as a hat.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Comfortable footwear, but not too hot for your feet.

Also, don't forget to bring a container of water to have on hand while you do your activities. Hydrate constantly so that the heat does not affect you, also, remember to sit down and rest at certain times. You can do the latter in a park, in a square or near a Roman fountain.

I hope that on your trip to Rome in August you will enjoy some of the above mentioned events. Have a good trip!